Department of Health

Nursing Home Complaints (Follow-Up Review)

The Department of Health is responsible for regulating the operation of nursing homes. In our initial audit report 2001-S-36, we examined the practices used by the Department in investigating allegations of physical abuse, mistreatment and neglect of nursing home patients. We found that a number of improvements were urgently needed, as many of the investigations we reviewed were not initiated promptly, particularly in New York City. We further found that many of the allegations may not have been investigated thoroughly, as the actions of the Departmentís investigators often were not documented. Some allegations were not investigated at all, as Department investigators relied instead on the nursing homesí own internal investigations.

We also found that, in a number of instances, allegations were misclassified when they were received or were not recorded at all. In such instances, investigations may be delayed or allegations may never be investigated. We also determined that several of the Departmentís investigators were not certified as required. We recommended that comprehensive improvements be made in the Departmentís practices related to nursing home complaints, and in our follow-up review, we found that some of our audit recommendations had been implemented. However, additional actions were needed if full implementation was to be achieved.

For a complete copy of Report 2003-F-41 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.